Pott Inland Waterways Library to honor author, photographer

The Herman T.Pott National Inland Waterways Library at UMSL will honor university alumnus and author Earl Swift and marine photographer Gregory Thorp for their writing and photography, respectively, on the nation's rivers, lakes and ports. A dinner and award ceremony will be held Dec. 1.

Earl Swift travels the world and writes about what he sees and hears. For his powerful narratives and meticulous reporting he’s been named a PEN finalist, a five-time Pulitzer Prize nominee and earned a Fulbright fellowship.

Gregory Thorp travels America’s inland waterways taking photographs of the machines that ply the water and mariners who work on them. He has produced two books, “Rivers Run Past” and a “Year of Corn” which won special recognition by the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

Both men will travel to the University of Missouri–St. Louis Dec. 1 to be honored for their work by the Herman T. Pott National Inland Waterways Library. The dinner and award ceremony will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. in the St. Louis Mercantile Library, which is located in the Thomas Jefferson Library at UMSL. Cost for the event is $37.50 per person.

Swift, who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at UMSL in 1993, will receive the Captain Donald T. Wright Award for his book, “Journey on the James: Three Weeks Through the Heart of Virginia.” Swift traveled the 435-mile journey with a photographer in a plastic canoe and chronicled the river’s history as home to the continent’s first English settlement, a highway for Native Americans and early colonists and a battleground in the Revolutionary and Civil wars.

Thorp will receive the James V. Swift Medal, named for the longtime columnist, business manager, advertising manager and vice president of the Waterways Journal, known as the “Riverman’s Bible.” Thorp’s large format photographs were recently installed in the Seamen’s Church Institute in their centers in Paducah, Ky.; Houston, Tex.; Oakland, Cal.; and Port Newark, N.J.

The Herman T. Pott National Inland Waterways Library is a special library within the St. Louis Mercantile Library at UMSL. It is one of America’s great historical research libraries since 1846. The Mercantile Library greatly expanded its waterways-related holdings in 1985 by establishing the Pott Library.

Herman T. Pott, who died in 1982, was one of the 20th century’s best known river transportation executives and pioneer river industry entrepreneurs. During World War II his company constructed ships for the United States and Russia, and by the 1950s, was the world’s largest designer and builder of inland river towboats.

For more information, download an Adobe PDF invitation. To make a reservation, call Sean Visintainer at 314-516-7244.


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